Licensed commercial tour operators and recreational providers play an important role in helping people access, enjoy and learn about Victoria's public land, making them key contributors to State and regional tourism economies. Some examples of the wide variety of activities that tour operators and recreational providers cater for in a range of settings across Victoria's national parks, forests, alpine resorts and coastal and recreational reserves include guided walking tours, fitness classes, rock climbing, surfing and canoeing on public land and waters. There are currently around 450 licenced tour operators on public land in Victoria.
The majority of licensed commercial tours and activities occur in national and state parks and state forests and are managed by Parks Victoria under the Tour Operator Management System (TOMS). However, there is increasing commercial tourism and recreation activity occurring on land managed by delegated committees of management under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 (including councils) and Alpine Resort Management Boards.
On 1 July 2011, new legislation came into effect, to establish a consistent licensing framework for commercial tour operators and recreation providers on public land. The changes arose from policy review and consultation with the tourism industry, land managers and stakeholders.
The amendments provide that:
- Public land managers may grant a tour operator licence for up to 10 years
- Public land managers must charge regulated state-wide fees for a tour operator licence
- Penalties apply for operating without a licence
The new licensing regime helps protect the natural and cultural values of public land by managing access, use and environmental impacts.
To view Parks Victoria's tour operator page, click on the following link to the Parks Victoria Tour Operator Page.
A recent project update is available below.
- Fact Sheets Information about the new licensing framework for commercial tour operators and activity providers on public land is available here.
- FAQs Frequently asked questions relating to the new licensing framework for tour operators and activity providers on public land are available here.
- Application Forms Application forms are available to download here.
- Competitive Licence Allocation DEPI is currently developing guidelines for the competitive allocation of licences that may be necessary in some areas. Draft guidelines are available for feedback here.
- Policy, Legislation and Regulations Tour Operator Licence Fee Regulations made on 28 June 2011 are now in effect. Copies of the Regulations can be found here.